Archive for April 18th, 2011

Martinez denies murder

| 18/04/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS):The man accused of murdering Brian Rankine Carter in May 2008 has denied he was the killer and pointed the finger at the crown’s key witness, Jason Hinds. Giving evidence from the witness box last week, William Martinez McLaughlin said it was he who watched as Hinds killed the young man and not the other way around. On Thursday and Friday the defendant spoke for the first time about the night Rankine was killed. He said Hinds had killed him following an argument over ganja and after making derogatory remarks about Rankine being gay. McLaughlin said he had done nothing to stop it and failed to take the opportunity to help Rankine because of his own “weakness and cowardice”, he added.

“I failed when it was very important,” McLaughlin told the court. He said he had not spoken about the crime because soon after his arrest his lawyer had advised him to stay quiet. But he also said he had not been able to find a way to explain what he had seen and how it was that he had an opportunity to do something and had failed at a time when it was so important.

“I know how my actions must seem,” he said, “but I have nothing more to hide. Someone died and people have to know the real killer is out there. My intentions had not been to speak about it because of my weakness and cowardice but I was convinced to come and tell the truth.”

The crown’s case against Martinez rests mostly on the witness statements and evidence given via video link from Hinds, who was charged with accessory after the fact of murder for the partthat the prosecution believes Hinds played in the crime.

Rankine’s naked and mutilated body was found shortly after he was killed in McField Lane on the night of 16 May 2008. He had suffered almost fifty different wounds around his head, neck, upper body and hands. Both Martinez and Hinds were arrested the next day when police traced the work van they had used through witnesses who had seen it parked at the murder scene.

Forensic evidence placed both men at the scene but Hinds was the first to give an account to the RCIPS, in which he said the two men had met Rankine in a bar in East End. They agreed to give him a ride to George Town and when they arrived, Hinds had said, Rankine went away to get what he believed to be drugs. When he returned he handed Martinez a white paper, which he then said the defendant had indicated was short. An argument then followed, which turned into a fight and eventually saw Martinez attack Rankine “like a crazy person,” while Hinds hid in the van, scared for his own life.

However, McLaughlin said it was Hinds that had wanted to go to Town with Rankine, as he said the young man had promised to give him ganja, and Martinez said he had been persuaded to go along as well. He said when they arrived at McField Lane it was Hinds who had argued with Rankine over the ganja and had accused him of being a “batty boy” and taking the “shotta man” for a fool, before the men began to fight and Hinds began attacking Rankine. Martinez said he froze in place during the frenzied attack, as he watched Hinds kill his victim.

Under cross examination Martinez denied being the killer and disposing of his own clothes and items stolen from the victim. He said he did not “chop anyone” as the crown prosecutor, Solicitor General Cheryll Richards, pressed him. Martinez said the only thing he had disposed of had been his own boots when he arrived home because Hinds had pointed out they had blood on them.

He admitting to sometimes smoking ganja but he said he would have no need to drive to town to buy it since he could easily get it in East End where he lived on John McLean Drive as he was surrounded by it. “If I wanted to get something I can buy it two minutes from my house,” he told the court. “I don’t have to give no stranger no money.”

When he was shown a machete which had been found in Hinds’ garden by police but never sent to be tested, Martinez said he could not say if it was the weapon Hinds had used to kill Rankine. He said it was the same type of machete that the men used in their work and it was like the one that had been in the van on the night of the killing.

Following, Martinez’ evidence, the defence called Alcott Fisher, who was the man who employed both Martinez and Hinds at his plumbing firm. He described both of them as hard workers who were productive and industrious. He said he had known Martinez from school and Hinds from 2006. He described Hinds as being the more aggressive of the two workers, who was often bragging of his criminal exploits in his native Jamaica. Fisher had said, however, he was never sure if he believed him or not. Meanwhile, he said, Martinez was the quieter of the two and mostly spoke about his family.

The defence will continue with its case in the Grand Court Monday.

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